New Zealand's domestic rugby league programme is now moving into its representative phase but not before remarkable outcomes in club grand finals in the main centres, like Hornby (pictured) winning Canterbury's season finale. Photo: The Press.


In Auckland, the Point Chevalier Pirates wrote a fairytale story in winning the Fox Memorial grand final.


This was truly a victory for the ages. The Pirates were at the bottom of the heap on Auckland Rugby League's club scene just a few years ago before winning the third-tier Phelan Shield grand final in 2010 and the second-tier Sharman Cup title a year later.


Now in 2013 the Pirates are premiers. Not only that, the Grant Pocklington-coached side beat grand final experts and neighbours the Mount Albert Lions to secure success 24-22 in a nailbiting finish.


There was another fairytale outcome in Wellington where the unlikely University Hunters stunned the Randwick Kingfishers 22-10 to win the title for the first time, having overwhelmed their earlier opponents in the finals series.


So to Canterbury's grand final. There might not have been anything unusual about Hornby achieving glory; the Panthers have tested success many times before and their opponents the Halswell Hornets know a thing or two about winning, too.


What was sensational, though, was the match itself. No adjectives could do it justice but Christchurch sports writer Tony Smith certainly captured the essence of what rugby league delivers time and time again with this column in The Press:


LEAGUE STILL CANTERBURY'S MOST PASSIONATE SPORT


For coverage of the Hunters' triumph in Wellington click on the link below:


HUNTERS' RAGS TO RICHES VICTORY